Wednesday 21 February 2018

Fear of flying? British Airways says it can help with this Dublin course

98pc success rate claimed

Sisters Aoife and Cliodhna Duggan from Dublin. Aoife is a First Officer and Cliodhna a pilot with British Airways.
Sisters Aoife and Cliodhna Duggan from Dublin. Aoife is a First Officer and Cliodhna a pilot with British Airways.
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

A one-day course that sees British Airways pilots and crew work with nervous flyers is landing in Dublin on March 28.

The ‘Flying with Confidence’ course aims to address common misconceptions around turbulence, with pilots, crew and a clinical psychologist on board to teach relaxation techniques and explain how aircraft actually fly.

It includes a dedicated flight from Dublin, and costs €299.

Almost 25pc of people have some fear of flying, British Airways says, with one in ten displaying a phobia.

Well known aerophobes have included soccer star Denis Bergkamp, boxer Mohammed Ali, former president Ronald Regan and golfer Florian Fritsch.

The course, which takes place at The Maldron Hotel near Dublin Airport, also sees a clinical psychologist providing advice on relaxation techniques, helping participants to understand and rationalise their fear, and teaching controlled breathing methods for reducing anxiety in the air.

It has a 98pc success rate, the airline claims.

BA: Flying with Confidence preview

Similar courses are run in the UK by Virgin Atlantic ( and easyJet (, which has two upcoming courses in Belfast on March 6 and 7.

Read more: Easyjet to run 'Fearless Flyer' course for aerophobic passengers in Belfast

Air France also runs a course at its Pilot Training Centre at Paris-Charles de Gaulle, with groups of three participants charged €650 each.

With the number of flights and passengers continuing to rise, and a series of tragic, high-profile accidents last year, airlines are taking 'aerophobia' seriously.

The Japanese airline, All Nippon, recently developed an app that attempts to "relax anxious passengers" with puzzles, music, ambient noises and more.

One of the British Airways pilots facilitating its 'Flying with Confidence' course is Aoife Duggan (pictured above), a First Officer who originally hails from Dublin.

“I am looking forward to being able to share my knowledge and love of flying and really help participants to overcome their fears,” she says.

Read more: Revealed: World's Top 10 safest airlines 

The BA course has been running for 28 years, with courses across several UK and international airports, including Heathrow, Gatwick, Glasgow, Edinburgh, New York, Dubai and Johannesburg.

It has helped over 45,000 people overcome phobias, the airline says. Participants can bring a guest to accompany them on the flight only for an additional fee of €149.

More info at

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